This week I bought a wedding dress. I can't describe it in full detail until the actual wedding because my fiancé has been adamant about not seeing or even hearing about the dress until the wedding itself. But let me just say this: it is timeless, classic, and southern without being gaudy or immodest. In the bridal shop, I attached a large, slightly unstructured magnolia to the cummerbund. The attaché made my decision for me. It transformed the dress from a piece of silk and lace on a hanger to something that was meaningful, significant, and innately personal.
Funny, to be persuaded of a dress by the addition of a magnolia. It says a lot about me and a lot about my style, whether it be fashion, cooking, or life itself. I love vintage with a modern, clean-cut twist. I love to make and re-fashion old-fashioned recipes. I add rosewater and nutmeg to my grandmother's perfect apple pie and allspice to snickerdoodles. I read about cooking often but hastily, thinking that one of these days I really will learn which are the best flavors to pair with rosemary, cilantro, or sage. But I believe that cooking, like life, is about experiment. We discover what works - not just according to a system of culinary rules, but also according to the individual and varied tastes of the people we love and for whom we cook. And when we hit on that right balance, whether it be in an exquisite cheesecake or a savory pumpkin risotto, we feel emboldened to experiment even more because what we have done so far actually works.
So here I am - in my final year of graduate school, overcome by dissertation edits, deadlines, and job fears, newly-engaged and planning a sweetly elegant wedding to a man that I love - and I finally feel I can write about cooking. It might just be an exercise in procrastination, but an exercise that involves cooking and eating, nonetheless. Like the addition of a sweet magnolia to my old-fashioned wedding dress, this blog is about experiment and taste, whether it be in cooking, writing, music, or in life itself. In experimenting with something that speaks to us, we might just find what we are looking for.